Resources - Fleet Safety

Why Does Your Organization Need A Traffic Safety Program?

You need a traffic safety program to save lives and to minimize the risk of life-altering injuries within your workforce. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the United States.

You need a traffic safety program for protection – to protect your human and financial resources and to protect against the risk of catastrophic losses, actual and legal. The liabilities, particularly in this country, associated with employees driving on company business or operating a fleet of company vehicles are potentially staggering. The development, implementation, enforcement, and monitoring of a strong traffic safety program is the first, best, and perhaps only defense against the potential company and personal liabilities associated with motor vehicle crashes involving employees driving on company business. Such a program is your first line of defense.

Your program should reflect a company culture that values safe driving behaviors. The program should work to keep the driver and those with whom he/she shares the road safe. And, if necessary, the program must work to change driver attitudes, behavior, and skills to build and sustain the “be safe” culture.

What are the Benefits to Organizations that Manage their Risk?

  • Lower operating costs: If your organization has a fleet of vehicles, either owned or leased, managed risk can result in lower vehicle insurance premiums, smaller repair bills resulting from fewer crashes, fewer out-of-service vehicles or injured employees, less management time devoted to paperwork involving crashes, and lower vehicle fuel costs.
  • Improved employee relations and higher morale: Organizations that demonstrate their care for employees often experience an increase in productivity and in staff retention.
  • Enhanced corporate image: Organizations that develop a strong safety culture and are recognized for their commitment to safety are well respected in their communities.

To summarize, a workplace traffic safety program is important:

  • To help you control the costs associated with motor vehicle crashes in the workplace
  • To establish expectations regarding safe driving practices
  • To reduce your risk of liability
  • To identify loss prevention and control strategies that will benefit your organization and positively impact your bottom line
  • To plan for the unexpected
  • To document management’s commitment, responsibility, authority, and accountability for safe driver and vehicle operations
  • To document and communicate traffic safety policies and procedures
  • To satisfy local, state, and federal laws and regulations governing traffic safety in the workplace

There is a significant benefit in implementing a traffic safety program in any organization. If the benefits listed above are not convincing, an important discussion of the risk and potential liabilities associated with uncontrolled and unmonitored company driving privileges follows.

Exposure and Liability Analysis

Motor vehicle crashes and their ensuing costs may be the most accessible and most reducible costs associated with the workplace. Those responsible for employee health and well-being and Workers’ Compensation can positively impact a company’s bottom line in a remarkably direct and significant way, by calculating the total cost of crashes involving motor vehicles, and subsequently designing and implementing a traffic safety program targeted at reducing those unnecessary expenses.

In 2002, the lives of 42,817 people were lost as a result of traffic crashes. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death on the job, accounting for over 2,000 deaths in 2002, over 30% of all occupational fatalities. Crashes on and off the job have far-reaching financial and psychological effects on employees, their co-workers and families, and their employers.

There are direct, indirect, and intangible costs associated with motor vehicle crashes in the workplace. Of these, the threat of litigation and the legal and financial obligations that arise out of that litigation are potentially the most damaging to your organization. Compensatory and punitive damages, awarded by employee-sympathetic juries, based on tried and true legal principles, are typically significantly large awards. How can corporations protect themselves against such potentialities?

Risk managers reduce the threat of litigation by reducing risk. Reducing risk in turn minimizes potential and actual liabilities. Lower risk and reduce liabilities to minimize payouts and costs. Reducing the risk of motor vehicle crashes within your organization is the right thing to do. But employers also have a legal obligation to ensure that their drivers stay safe on the road. There are seven fundamental legal principles outlined in the Primer that corporate managers would do well to understand and communicate to all involved in driving on company business.

How Does an Employer Protect their Organization?

The development, implementation, enforcement, and monitoring of a strong traffic safety program is the first, best, and perhaps only defense against the potential company and personal liabilities associated with motor vehicle crashes. Such a program is your first line of defense against the potentially staggering costs that arise out of motor vehicle crashes involving employees. Such a program allows the company to be proactive in controlling crash risks.

At a minimum, the program designed for your organization should have the following common characteristics:<

  • It should reflect a company culture that values safe driving behaviors.
  • It should work to keep the driver and those with whom he/she shares the road safe.
  • It must work to change driver attitudes, behavior, and skills needed to build and sustain the “be safe” culture.

Benchmarking – Does Safety Pay?

To begin to understand the impact of motor vehicle crashes on your organization the Motor Vehicle Crash Cost Worksheet provided in the Primer can help you to calculate the cost of your crashes. You may want to use one recent crash as an example to work through this sheet to appreciate the magnitude and complexity of such losses. Once you master the worksheet for one crash, you can then apply it to all the crashes experienced in a chosen time frame (i.e., annually) within the organization to characterize your company motor vehicle crash loss profile.

If you know (1) the magnitude of your losses and (2) the actual or estimated cost of designing and implementing a traffic safety program as described in this Primer, you can calculate the return on investment (ROI) or the cost/benefit ratio (C/B) for such a program. Examples abound of the positive ROI and C/B realized by companies, small, medium, and large, who have implemented well-designed traffic safety programs for the benefit of their employees.

These facts and figures demonstrate that committing resources to reducing actual crash loss figures and protecting your organization from potentially catastrophic liability is well worth the investment! Yes, safety does pay.

Source: The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS)

Certisafety Section Home Page

Copyright ©2000-2016 Geigle Safety Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Federal copyright prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means without permission. Students may reproduce materials for personal study. Disclaimer: This material is for training purposes only to inform the reader of occupational safety and health best practices and general compliance requirement and is not a substitute for provisions of the OSH Act of 1970 or any governmental regulatory agency. CertiSafety is a division of Geigle Safety Group, Inc., and is not connected or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).